Spontaneous Generations 6 (1):233-236 (2012)
“Holdings” was written for the 2011 Reading Artifacts Summer Institute at the Canada Science and Technology Museum. I spent a week “embedded” with the group, attending workshops and instructional sessions, mostly in a warehouse filled with curious objects from the museum’s collection: a gigantic hard drive platter, an egg-sorting machine, fire engines, iron lungs, a scale model of a Babbage Difference Engine (which had been used to weigh down the back of somebody’s rear-wheel-drive car). Some of the artifacts were historically important, and some were disarmingly ordinary. Others had come loose from their stories, and were just mystifying. The group spent five days exploring the innumerable intersections between these solid things and the people who lived, and live, among them. At the end of the week, during the closing presentations, I read this poem to the group about what I’d seen and felt as I watched them work
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